The Interview… Andrew Roberts, head of marketing at Stonebridge

Andrew Roberts, head of marketing at mortgage and insurance network Stonebridge, tells The Intermediary about his core marketing fundamentals for the advisory sector and the firm’s plans going forward.

You were recently appointed as head of marketing at Stonebridge – what is your career background and what excited you about the new role? 

I’ve worked in highly-regulated industries throughout my career be it manufacturing, medical, financial or legal services.

After a brief stint away from the wonderful world of intermediated financial services, it’s not only great to be back in the industry, but at a business that is on such a strong trajectory.

In terms of industry experience, I spent the best part of six years at Paymentshield as digital marketing manager, where we were awarded Insurance Times’ ‘Best B2B Marketing Campaign’ four years in a row against some of the industry’s big hitters.

What excited me most about the role at Stonebridge was the opportunity to apply everything I’ve learned about marketing in this industry, but in a more senior position that goes beyond one aspect of an AR’s business.

What are you looking to achieve for Stonebridge going forward?

From a marketing perspective, what we’re looking to achieve is pretty straightforward. More support for our recruitment team in generating opportunities in our AR and DA propositions.

More collaboration with our BDM team to help them support their growing number of member firms. And finally, more marketing solutions for our member firms themselves.

What are the core marketing fundamentals that advisory firms need to get right?

Initially, firms should be looking at the four Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Also known as the ‘Marketing Mix.’

All four aspects are critical in maximising marketing effort, so while you can have a good service and not charge a fee if you’re not out there promoting that fact how do you expect potential clients to hear about it?

Alternatively, you could be concentrating your budget on promotion, but if you don’t offer flexibility in how, when, and where clients can access your service, you’re potentially limiting how effective that budget will be.

Many believe advisory firms over-concentrate on bringing in new business and can sometimes neglect their back-book opportunities. Is this something you believe? If not, why not?

‘Neglect’ is a bit strong, but I agree with the notion. While I understand firms want to serve as many new clients as possible to build up a client bank, existing clients are a potential gold mine of opportunities, and in my opinion, shouldn’t only be worked when new business slows.

Advisers will have already established a relationship and done the hard yards in having a client place their business with them, so why not leverage that relationship when it comes to remortgaging or product transfer? Not to mention the opportunities outside of the mortgage to regularly review a client’s circumstances when it comes to protection and general insurance.

Repeat business helps to not only grow brand loyalty but, in time, advocacy. Meaning a client is less likely to seek advice elsewhere and will also refer friends/family/colleagues. 

What is your all-time favourite marketing campaign?

I always love seeing new creative for ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’. Not just because they’re clever and typically good-humoured, but because it demonstrates how a good campaign will stand the test of time. That infamous strapline was first used over 20 years ago.

What advice would you give to any marketers starting out in this industry?

  1. Help your audience, don’t sell to them.
  2. Tactics are important, but strategy wins every time.
  3. BDMs are a valuable source of insight, knowledge, and support.
  4. Proofing and testing are never optional.
  5. Do the analytics. You can’t learn what does and doesn’t work with your audience otherwise.
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